Terry's TMG Tips

Using the Split CD to “Lump” Sources

This page updated 1 Sep 2008

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

There is a on-going debate among TMG users about the best way to specify a Source in one's TMG Project. So-called "splitters" create a unique Source entry for each individual record, for example for each household in a census, for each tombstone in a cemetery, each record in a will book, or each e-mail received from a cousin. Those known as "lumpers," on the other hand, may define a Source more broadly, perhaps as one Source for each roll of census microfilm, for an entire cemetery, for a whole will book or all the will books in a county, or for all e-mails from a given cousin.

Lumpers can record and display the same details as splitters by recording the additional details in the Citation Details field when citing the Source. Ordinarily, this means that all the details appear together, usually at the end, in the footnotes. That is generally not the format suggested in style guides, though many users find it satisfactory.

The use of TMG's "split CD" feature, that is the spliting of the Citation Detail field into several segments to allow entry of several different data elements, allows one to create "lumped" Source Definitions and still have each element positioned as desired in the printed footnotes. That is done by specifying in the output Templates where each segment of the split CD should appear.

The primary benefit of "lumping" Sources is to reduce the number of Sources defined, and thus the number of entries in the Master Source List. Splitters respond that the number of entries in the Master Source List is rarely a problem, and if it is unneeded Sources can be hidden by making them inactive.

The main disadvantages of lumping are listed below:

Use of split CDs resolves the issue of "proper" formatting, but introduces its own issues:

Some users find the reduction in number or Sources defined in the Master Source list adequate compensation for the the disadvantages. I formerly used a split CD method for census sources, but I have since converted all my census sources to a "splitter" format, primarily to enable improvements in the websites I am now creating with Second Site. While I no longer particularly recommend the use of split CDs I am offering the following examples for readers who would like to explore this method.

Census - create one Source definition per roll of microfilm
Cemetery Marker - create one Source definition per cemetery
Will - create one source definition per will book

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